Explain how relative ethical theories work to solve issues

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Explain how relative ethical theories work to solve issues (25 marks)

Relative ethics is a more flexible approach to solving modern issues. It usually involves looking at the individual situation and weighing up the consequences of each action. Nothing is objectively right or wrong in any circumstances and morality depends on the time, culture and particular individual. Examples of relativist ethical theories are utilitarianism and situation ethics.

Moral relativism is the opposite belief to moral absolutism. Absolutists believe that certain actions are intrinsically wrong and cannot be questioned. Whereas relativists believe that the right or wrong thing to do depends on the situation Joseph fletcher said that the right action is the one that produces the most beneficial consequences. He said that this is the most loving thing to do. His situation ethics was based on agape or love. It is a form of Christian ethics that s consequentialist. For example a young woman is raped and becomes pregnant, the foetus is believed to be severely disabled. Moral absolutists believe that killing is always wrong and therefore an abortion is not an option. However for a moral relativist is may be the most loving thing to do and will create the most beneficial results. This does not mean abortion is always right, but the morality changes with each individual situation.

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Utilitarianism is another form of relative ethics. It is teleological and looks to find the maximum pleasure for the most people involved. Therefore morality changes in each circumstance. Bentham was an Act utilitarian and he used his hedonic calculus in order to calculate how much pleasure would come from an action. Mill was a weak Rule utilitarian. This means there are some laws that should be made but they can be broken if it would provide a better outcome. For example, killing out of revenge will only bring the killer pleasure and only for a short duration so it is ...

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